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Crowds at UP banks as lockdown extension appears possible

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Lucknow, April 8 (IANS) With newspapers and television channels announcing the possibility of the national lockdown being extended, people, on Wednesday, started rushing to the banks that witnessed substantial crowds.

The police in Uttar Pradesh had a tough time ensuring social distancing outside the banks.

The bank staff also tried to persuade the customers to stand at circled spots to ensure social distancing. However, since most banks do not have shades or porches, the customers were obviously uncomfortable standing in the sun.

Most of the customers at nationalized bank branch in Hazratganj area were senior citizens.

One of them said, “I have been standing here for about 40 minutes. There is no bench or chair for us. Moreover, the sun is right above our heads. There is no problem in waiting but some facilities should be made for senior citizens.”

Another customer, meanwhile, admitted that he had come to withdraw money after learning that the lockdown is likely to be extended.

“My pension has not come till now but I am going to withdraw money from my account because everything is being sold at a premium in the lockdown,” he said.

A police inspector, managing crowds outside another bank, said, “We understand their problem but they should also understand the need for social distancing. We are not enjoying this duty but rules have to be followed.”

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FDI inflows rise 18% to $73 bn in FY20: Minister

The total FDI inflows in India have progressively increased in the last couple of years.

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New Delhi, May 28 : Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said that total FDI into India grew at 18 per cent in 2019-20 to reach $73 billion.

Last year, India had received FDI worth around $62 billion.

“In another strong vote of confidence in Make in India, total FDI into India grew at 18% in 2019-20 to reach $73 Bn. Total FDI has doubled from 13-14 when it was only $36 Bn. This long term investment will spur job creation,” Goyal said in a tweet.

The total FDI inflows in India have progressively increased in the last couple of years.

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Centre lifts restriction on export of paracetamol APIs

On April 17, the government lifted the restrictions on shipments of formulations made from paracetamol.

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New Delhi, May 28 : The Union government on Thursday lifted the restriction on the export of paracetamol APIs.

In March, the Centre had imposed curbs on the export of several active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and formulations made from these APIs including paracetamol, and tinidazole, on concerns of shortage of drugs in the country.

On April 17, the government lifted the restrictions on shipments of formulations made from paracetamol.

“The notification dated 03.03.2020 is further amended to remove restriction on export of Paracetamol APIs, making its export ‘free’ with immediate effect,” said a statement from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) on Thursday.

India is a major exporter of paracetamol and hydroxychloroquine, which have witnessed a surge in demand amid the coronavirus crisis.

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Google selects 5,300 local news organisations for funding

“As we await a final funding tally, we expect to spend tens of millions of dollars through the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund,” Blecher said.

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New Delhi, May 28 : India’s East Mojo and Minnambalam are among 5,300 small and medium local newsrooms around the world that will receive emergency funding from Google ranging from $5,000-$30,000 (approximately Rs 3.7 lakh-Rs 22.7 lakh), the search engine giant said on Thursday.

East Mojo, a digital-only news organisation, said it plans to use the fund to allow journalists to go to remote parts of Northern India to shed light on the impact of Covid-19 once the country’s lockdown is lifted.

Minnambalam (India), a Tamil language publication from Chennai, said the funding gave them the confidence and financial support needed to carry on with their work.

Covid-19 has upended the news industry, hitting local news particularly hard with job losses, furloughs, cutbacks and even closure.

To provide some help, the Google News Initiative last month launched the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund.

“Applications covering a number of publications under one organization will be capped at $85,000,” Ludovic Blecher, Head of Google News Initiative Innovation, wrote in a blog post.

“As we await a final funding tally, we expect to spend tens of millions of dollars through the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund,” Blecher said.

Google said in just two weeks it received more than 12,000 applications from 140 eligible countries, with 90 per cent of those applications from newsrooms of less than 26 journalists.

“We reviewed each application against a set of criteria: publications operating locally, serving a specific geographic community and using the money to continue doing so,” Blecher said.

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